Child Advocates Selected for New Statewide Services for Youth

Posted on January 4th, 2022

Indiana’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA) has chosen Child Advocates as its first, single statewide access site for DMHA’s High Fidelity Wraparound program. The program, new to Child Advocates, offers support and services to Hoosier children and youth who face serious mental health or behavioral challenges.

“For nearly forty years, we have been a voice for children and youth who face the trauma of abuse and neglect, and we will continue those critical services,” says Child Advocates CEO Cindy Booth. “But our commitment to standing up for justice and equity for children will now extend to ensuring that children and youth and their families—including those in underserved communities—have access to the mental health support they need.”

Child Advocates will manage all incoming referrals for the High Fidelity Wraparound services across Indiana and assist youth and families with the application process. The wraparound services also require that children be on Medicaid which funds the program. Child Advocates will also conduct outreach to help reach thousands of children and youth who may not be accessing the program.

The High Fidelity Wraparound program helps address the complex needs of youth who may also be in danger of out-of-home placement. It focuses on keeping children in their homes for mental health services and it involves a team of family, friends, community, and professional supports to work collaboratively to develop one individualized plan of care for each child.

“It all goes back to mission, vision, and values and Child Advocates aligns with our organization in those areas,” says Tanya Merritt-Mulamba, clinical quality improvement specialist at DMHA, discussing why it chose Child Advocates for the work. “Child Advocates also embodies years of expertise in standing up for children’s rights in the child welfare system through legal services and a race equity program that addresses disparities in care for children of color. We want to do a better job at reaching racially diverse and LGBTQ populations and their families for critical mental health services and support.”

Merritt-Mulamba also stated that DMHA, a part of the Family and Social Services Administration, needed to become compliant with federal regulations which require a non-provider of direct services, such as Child Advocates, to be an impartial state assessment site. Some of the current access sites include service providers.

Child Advocates staff will complete training for the services during the first few months of 2022. “We will officially begin the work on March 1st as the state assessment site for High Fidelity Wraparound services, and there will now be just one phone number for people to call to begin the eligibility process,” says Cindy Booth. “We cannot wait to help serve more children in need and their families and direct them to support that can be life-changing.”